Study Finds Elder-to-Elder Mistreatment

Dec 8, 2014

In a given four-week period, nearly one in five nursing home residents reported being involved in some form of elder-to-elder mistreatment. Those are the findings of a first of its kind study released last month from Cornell University.

Through direct observation and surveys with more than 2,000 nursing home residents and staff members, researchers categorized several types of elder-to-elder mistreatment ranging from verbal or physical abuse, to unwanted sexual overtures, to invading another resident’s personal space or belongings.

Florida is home to about 72,000 of the nation’s nearly 1.4 million nursing home residents.

The study’s lead author, Cornell sociologist Dr. Karl Pillemer says part of addressing the problem is getting caretakers to recognize that there is a problem in the first place.

“If you talk to folks who work in nursing homes, they just tend to accept this as inevitable. Simply having people be aware that this really ought not be a normal occurrence...it ought to be intervened in and therefore staff training around awareness is really critical," Pillemer said. 

To that end, Pillemer said he’s testing an awareness training program for nursing home staff to encourage greater intervention when these incidents occur.